Do you ever feel like you are lazy, sluggish, and somewhat wimpy with your faith? Well, you’re in good company; Jesus thinks you are too!
Read it for yourself.
“for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8)
This is Jesus’ conclusion to the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16). This is the guy who got busted by his master and was going to get fired, so he ran around lowering the debts of those who owed his master money. After being fired, these guys might help him out since he did them a solid.
Brilliant, shrewd foresight. Jesus says he did well and is an excellent example for the children of light!
“And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” (Luke 16:9)
Jesus seems to be saying that you should use money to be nice to people so when you die (fail) and stand before the Lord these people will put in a good word for you.
Many aspects of this verse bother Christians.
–Is Jesus saying we should buy friends?
–Why do I need people to vouch for me on judgment day? I thought Jesus was all I needed?
–I thought giving stuff to people was out of love, for their benefit, not to use them for my own ends?
We go on and on with our justifications and keep our money.
It’s this kind of thinking that keeps the children of light dumber than children of the world.
Rather than be sensible, we bog down in theological debate. Our theological bunkers keep us safe from responsibility and intelligence.
Some think a lack of intelligence demonstrates faith. Isn’t all that thinking and foresight and planning just a lack of faith? Shouldn’t we trust God and blindly move forward?
Christians are adept at ignoring “you reap what you sow” because we think our great faith and prayer will shelter us. Surely God will deliver me from my terrible decision making.
Or perhaps fatalism steps in. It’s all God’s will, what’re ya gonna do? If God wanted me to do better, He would have made me do better.
At best, perhaps we’re too busy thinking about heaven, or perhaps we don’t concern ourselves with fixing today because Jesus might come back tomorrow. We follow the example of the Thessalonian believers and sit around being gossips because why work and be responsible, Jesus is coming.
Jesus is also saying that unsaved people in the world have wisdom. This bothers a lot of Christians too. There’s an arrogant superiority we carry with us. Spiritual things are discerned by spiritual people, and that’s us. We know more than all them unsaved heathen scum morons.
We pat ourselves on the back, sit back and judge the world’s sins, and never consider that maybe people in the world are doing some things better.
Paul uses athletes as an example (athletes, otherwise known as “dumb jocks” to smarmy, intellectual, professorial types). But even dumb jocks in the world are smart enough to discipline their bodies and zealously pursue their goals. Paul tells Christians that they should pursue spiritual growth like that. Surely we can be smarter than dumb jocks!
“That’s legalism, Paul!” we shout and then do nothing. Ten years go by, “How come I don’t have any fruit or proof I’ve grown?”
Jesus goes on in Luke 16 to say if we don’t become shrewd and smart like people in the world, He won’t entrust us with spiritual things.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)
How annoying! “I thought God entrusted everyone with equal stuff. This sounds like works righteousness and merit, man” we argue convincingly with verses and maintain our dumbness.
Be smarter out there. Pay attention. Walk circumspectly. Be sober, in your right mind. Be vigilant. Discipline. Care. Wise as serpents; harmless as doves. If you can’t be smart enough to handle earthly things, why would God entrust you with far more valuable spiritual things?
We’re not called to be empty-headed fatalists. “God is in control. Nothing I can do. Whatever. Grace and stuff.”
We’re called to lay hold on eternal life and put our treasure in heaven. Get busy, yo.